Scarlett’s Letter July 5, 2013

Today was sort of a low key, high-accomplishment day. We stuck close to home and had no real plan other than to pick away at stuff and see where the day took us.

One task that needed to be completed was the “chukar relocation project”. Chukars are a bird, a partridge, actually, and there were twenty of them in a cage next to the porch, growing bigger and more feathered by the day. Once big enough, they have a large pen behind the greenhouse where they will live out their days. Some will, well, become dinner, others will be “wintered over” and hopefully will breed enough to supply food, and possibly birds to sell, next year. Their pen was located near the porch, the garage and the front door in hopes that the birds would become accustomed to people and if not tame, at least calm. No such luck. Birdbrains.

The neighbors came up to assist in the effort. We figured this was going to be a big chore and we could use the help, all told, we were done in about fifteen minutes. The birds were caught in a dip net (used for fishing) and handed to us one at a time to be carried around the house and into the pen. In carrying them, the bird’s legs were held firmly between our fingers and the other hand was place on top, sort of like a running back carefully protecting the football while navigating towards the goal posts. One of us caught, two of us ran back and forth, the fourth managed the door to the pen. A couple of times, several birds were caught in the net and we just carried the net back to free the birds into the pen. And, yes, there was a mishap, and of course, it was me. If anyone was going to accidently free a bird it was bound to be me. My klutzitude is substantial, especially after having been carefully warned of the consequences. If you tell me “don’t let go no matter what”, I will let go. This, I cannot explain other than the powers of visualization and manifestation. As soon as you tell me not to let go and what will happen if I do, I visualize it and it manifests. Visualization and manifestation can be a very powerful and useful skill, or tool, to develop in life, but not when used involuntarily in visualizing that which you don’t want to happen. Welcome to my world. I’m working on it. So, yes, I let go of one of the birds, the very untamed and impossible to catch birds. I could feel the little bird legs slipping out from between my fingers. I was struggling to regain my grasp and the bird started flapping furiously before I could get my hand over his (or her) back. I am grateful for two things; my man is a very patient man and, the neighbor is a fast and agile man. The stray bird was caught and placed in the pen with the rest.

In Alaska, at least the Alaska I am witness to, there is an unspoken code; if someone helps you out with something, you reciprocate. I know this unspoken code exists elsewhere, in more rural communities certainly, but I think it is beginning to be less and less so in newer suburban neighborhoods where people often don’t even know their neighbors. The code may exist within families or groups of friends, but rarely with people who just happen to live near you. I have lived in newer suburban neighborhoods, for years at a time, where we knew no neighbors. People just came and went, managed their lives, and barely made eye contact. A pensive “hello” may be exchanged if people passed one another on a narrow sidewalk, sometimes, though, the greeting would go unanswered. This is not the case here.

So, after the chukar relocation project, we visited the neighbors and worked on “the bus” for a bit. “The bus” being an old school bus that is being converted into a recreational vehicle with a loo, complete with a shower, a kitchen and a rooftop bedroom and redwood deck. It has been fun to watch progress with each visit I make, and has now even made a successful voyage.

The natural progression of these neighborly exchanges is a shared meal at one place or the other. So, we hosted dinner; moose roast, salmon, salad, veggies, and fixings and trimmings galore. As is also our custom, we killed a few bottles of wine in the process, most were enjoyed after dinner while playing the worst (in a good, but oh so bad way) card game ever, “Cards Against Humanity”. We have played this before and I’m pretty certain another unwritten code is that when visiting Alaska, thou shalt bring the game.

My son told me about this game a few months ago. As my kids were growing up we often played “Apples to Apples”, a game of matching words and phrases into logical, or funny, or totally illogical and hilarious combinations, and then taking turns “judging” the combinations to determine the winner of each round. “Cards Against Humanity” is similar but extremely adult, and twisted, on many, many, many levels. If you have the opportunity to check out either of these games, considering the audience carefully, do so.

A day without a real plan, or direction, turned out to be a very full, very accomplished, very rewarding and very social day.

Chukars = birdbrains
Chukars = birdbrains


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